First Day At Work

Living on a lemonade budget…. And starting a new job.

It’s been a little while since we last posted. Life has got rather busy for both of us recently….

Lauren has been working hard with her Mr Clark to renovate their new home and they are due to move in any day now. Huge congratulations to both of them – their new home is stunning and I’m sure Lauren will be sharing an update on their progress from bombsite to beautiful in some not too distant posts!

Meanwhile, I have started a new job! For those of who have been following us for a while, you will remember that I quit my previous job back in May and I decided to take a couple of months off to relax and figure out my next step.

My new role is working part time for a small business specialising in high end antiques and interior design. The job ticks so many boxes. It’s local. It’s part time. It’s a relaxed and creative environment (I look out my office window onto fields and farmland – you can’t get much more chilled!). And most importantly the people are lovely.

I recognise that I am very fortunate to have found something that almost exactly matches what I set out to find. Of course that didn’t stop the self-doubt kicking in. Almost as soon as the ink was dry on the contract and I had downed my glass of celebratory prosecco, my mind went into a crisis of confidence meltdown. Had I made the right decision? Would I actually be able to do the job? What if nobody liked me? Could I justify working part time when I didn’t have a ‘good’ reason for doing so?

And so it went on. Part of this insecurity was that my self-confidence had been badly knocked in my last role and I had to accept that this was going to take some time to fix.

When you lack confidence in yourself, it is difficult to believe that you are capable of making a ‘good’ decision. If you are anything like me, then it will take you ages to make any decision at all because you have to analyse the situation from every possible angle first. The problem is that once you then do commit, you torture yourself wondering if you have made the right choice (I know, it’s exhausting).

Knowing me very well by now, the long suffering Mr Lace encouraged me to think about what the worst thing that could happen was. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually works in this case! So I’m absolutely rubbish at the job and everyone hates me – I just quit and I’m in no worse position than I was in before. Actually, put like that it’s not that bad! Once I had removed that worry from the list, it was easier to remind myself that they had given me the job because they liked me and they believed I would be good at it.

The next worries were whether I would be able to do the job properly or if people would like me. I felt sick with nerves on my first day – it was the same feeling I used to get on the first day at a new school! To make the whole experience less nerve wracking, I use a couple of basic tips which I had used before in stressful situations:

  • I often don’t sleep very well when I am under pressure. Rather than panicking about this, I accepted that it might happen and told myself that, although I might be a bit tired, it wasn’t the end of the world and I would cope.
  • It sounds superficial, but I chose a nice outfit and took time over my hair and make-up. It makes sense, if you feel like you look your best then you are more likely to feel confident.
  • I gave myself a pep talk in the morning to remind myself of all my achievements and I told myself that I just had to get through one day, broken down like that it didn’t feel so insurmountable.
  • As a perfectionist, I always want to be good at everything immediately, so it was important that I gave myself permission not to know everything straight away and to make mistakes without feeling like I was a failure.

Finally, I was worried about whether I could justify working part time without a ‘good’ reason. I think many of us feel the pressure to achieve in our careers, so taking a break or a sideways step rather than climbing the ladder as quickly as possible can feel like a failure on our part.

I read a really good article about this ‘career shame spiral’ in October’s Glamour magazine, and how this is made worse in our fast-paced world when we are constantly bombarded with the latest career success of celebrities younger than ourselves (hello Taylor Swift) or even our friend’s latest promotion news on Facebook.

I had to get to a point where I could accept that I had made the decision that was right for me and I didn’t need to justify it. What is a ‘good’ reason anyway? I had been under pressure in my last role, so it was healthy to want a work-life balance in my next job. Scott and I are dealing with some personal stuff outside of work which needs to be my focus for now and I am a firm believer you can’t do everything.

The point is that the most important thing is to be happy and sometimes you just have to be brave enough to go after it.

Have you started a new job recently or had a career change? We’d love to know your experience here or share your story on Facebook or Instagram. You might inspire someone else to make a change!

Love Katy x

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